Monday, 12 September 2016

Wolves are risk-takers but dogs became cautious like their human masters

The 'Wolf of Wall Street' may be a more apt nickname for millionaire fraudster Jordan Belfort than previously realised

Ian Johnston Science Correspondent 

The ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ was so named because of the American stockbroker’s ravenous appetite for success at any cost – regardless of the risk.

Now scientists have discovered the actual animal shares at least one of the same traits with Jordan Belfort, as played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2013 film.

For wolves are significantly more likely to risk losing it all for the chance of a valued prize than their canine cousins, according to new research published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Given a choice between £100 and a 50-50 chance of getting £200 or nothing, most humans choose the sure-fire thing. Dogs, bred from wolves to become our "best friend", are much the same.

However it would appear that life as an apex predator, an animal whose main prey are large, potentially dangerous animals, like moose and bison, may have shaped wolves to favour the big score.

Researchers at the Wolf Science Centre in Austria tested seven dogs and seven wolves.

The choice was between an upturned bowl covering an “insipid” food pellet and another that half the time hid a piece of tasty meat, but contained only a stone for the other half.


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